Staying Awake

A few years into my call at Trinity I took a day trip to Our Savior Lutheran in Twin Falls to do a presentation on stewardship. It was a great group of people, and I thought the event went well. But a day of presenting meant that by the end I was quite tired. Part way through my drive back to Nampa, somewhere between Twin and Mountain Home, I was jolted awake by the front part of my Camry being crunched by the…

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Preparing and Waiting

What are we preparing for?What are we waiting for?Second Sunday of Advent - December 4, 2022Isaiah 11:1-10Matthew 3:1-12Let’s start with Isaiah. The time of this writing is supposed to be about 740 BCE. A time when there were constant threats from neighboring Assyria. The Isaiah text speaks of a person who will come to Israel and rule in a new way. It is pretty clear that Isaiah was pointing up the questionable history of kings of Israel and describing how this new person…

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Read more about the article The Journey
Paper Art-Mary Braudrick

The Journey

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Luke 2:4-5)They had no choice in the matter. It was time to return to their ancestral home to be taxed. All people of their land were required by a government command…

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How Shall We Wait?

I’ve never been someone who is good at waiting. Actually, I’m a pretty impatient person and often prone to worry. That said, I grew up in Colorado in a family that enjoyed skiing. We skied as much as we could. My mom belonged to a ski club that went up to the mountains twice a week during ski season. She would leave early in the morning and usually return in the early evening and that’s what I expected. I remember a time when I was in high school, on a ski day for mom, that snow started falling at home in Denver about mid-day. It was one of those storms where it seemed that the sky just opened up like a feather pillow had been ripped in a pillow fight. The snowflakes came down fast and furious. It didn't take long for the snow to begin piling up in the streets. Almost always when it was snowing in town it was snowing in the mountains - probably worse. So, already I was beginning to get a little worried. At 5:00 it was dark and the snow was still falling hard. At 6:00 there was no sign of the snow letting up and there was no sign of mom coming home. The family room and my bedroom were in the basement of the house, but I stayed upstairs waiting - looking out the window - hoping mom would be home soon. 6:00 turned into 6:30 and then 7:00. Still no sign. There were no phone calls (we didn’t have cell phones then), no news to let me know if everything was alright. I was beginning to get frantic. I paced the floor. I sat in front of the window. With every set of headlights that came down the street I hoped it would be mom. I paced the floor some more. Finally, at 7:30 or 8:00 she arrived. Exhausted from a long day, but perfectly fine. I was relieved. The experience of two or three hours of passive waiting was almost more than I could bear. In the meantime, my homework didn't get done nor did dinner get prepared - which might have been a nice thing since mom was indeed a couple hours late and neither one of us had eaten. I learned that day, and still continue to learn, that passive waiting can be depressing, immobilizing, and anxiety producing - and it rarely accomplishes much. As the Church, we have just entered into Advent, a season of waiting and preparing. We wait with Mary and Joseph for the birth of Emmanuel – God with us. At the behest of John the Baptist, we prepare for the arrival of the Messiah through our repentance – our change of heart, a change of direction so that we might become even more Christ-like for our neighbors in our community and the world. At the same time, we wait AND prepare. To me, it implies that our waiting is not passive – like my anxious waiting in front of a window for hours – but rather, active. About Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "Our whole life is advent - that is waiting until the end. Waiting for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all men will be brothers and will rejoice in the angels' song, 'peace on earth and good will to men.' Learn how to wait! For he has promised that he will come: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock'. And we call to him, 'Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus. " “Learn how to wait.” How will we make our waiting active, faithful, fruitful, life changing in Jesus’ name for the sake of the world? active waiting passive waiting

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In it for the Long Game

Like several congregations in our cluster, my congregation of Immanuel Lutheran is about to start the process of calling a new pastor. I serve on the Mission and Life Committee which has the task of creating a current picture of our congregation as well as a vision of who we might become—who God is calling us to be. Pastor Paul Olsen, our interim pastor, shared this quote at our first meeting:  “Rediscovering our reason for being never ends. It’s always bigger than we…

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On Lent and Hope

I love the church year, the changing seasons and colors. Whatever else happens in the world, the church year goes forward. It is not like the chronological calendar year that starts on a number and moves to another number at the end. The cycle of the church year revolves, with hints of the next season, the next experience always ahead. The colors change, the paraments change, the fabric and shapes of the banners, the flowers or the not-flowers at the altar. Some days…

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“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Recall the childhood game of “Hide and Seek.” I expect many of us have memories of how we played that simple game. In the one I remember, one person would volunteer to be “it” (the seeker) and everyone else would go hide, hoping to find a place that was so…

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Read more about the article After the Waiting…Praise
Redfish Lake

After the Waiting…Praise

This is he whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord, whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word; now he shines, the long expected; let creation praise its Lord evermore and evermore. Amen. Verse 3 from Of the Father’s Love Begotten After the waiting, the longing, the hoping, what is left to do on Christmas day but praise God? It is not even so much about thanksgiving, which has its own place in the life of faith.…

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Actively Waiting believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lordin the land of the living.Wait for the Lord;be strong, and let your heart take courage;wait for the Lord!Psalm 27:13-14Many of our devotions in recent days have pointed us to God’s goodness “in the land of the living” - in nature, in people, in ourselves. Amen. Amen. Amen.I recently snapped photos of Payette Lake (see above) as I waited for the fog to lift.We know ‘thick fog’ days - when it’s hard to…

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Advent Hope

We journey through this Advent season with COVID cases being on the rise across the country. With the country and our state setting new case and death numbers almost every day and at an alarming rate. We journey through Advent in the midst of a global pandemic that has hopefully made us realize how interconnected we all are as a people and a planet. We journey through Advent, the season of waiting and watching, waiting for approval of a vaccine, watching how people…

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The Show is About to Begin

You know what time it is, it is time that you awake out of sleep because salvation is coming near to us...the night is far spent, and the shining day is at hand. Therefore, cast off the works of darkness and prepare yourself to put on the armor of light, prepare yourselves in hope. (Romans 13: 10-12)Imagine you are in a seat in a theater, waiting for the show to begin. The houselights go off and the footlights go on, the conductor raises…

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Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

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What Are You Waiting For?

“Wha-at a-are yo-ou WAITING for? Christmas?” It’s a question I used to harangue batters with as a baseball catcher in college--especially when a batter was excessively finicky at which pitch he wanted to swing. The question is probably asked a million times—thrown at the direction of the driver ahead of us who is more intent on the cell phone than on the green traffic light—in wonderment of how much greener the light needs to be before said motorist finally looks up from the…

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An Early Advent

“Zechariah your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.” Mary, listen, you are to conceive and bear a son.” (Luke 1: 13, 31) We have already been in the Advent season in a sense; because we have been in a period of waiting since the pandemic began. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting for the suffering to end. Waiting for the vaccine and maybe a cure. Waiting for life to get back to normal, or the new normal, whatever that is.…

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My parents were intentional when they named me “Penelope.” They voiced the expectation that I would live up to the name’s various meanings. Many of you are familiar with the Greek myth about Penelope, the loyal wife of Odysseus. She stayed home for 20 years while he fought in the Trojan War and traveled the world. In his absence, suitors arrived and tried to convince her that Odysseus was dead – and that she should get remarried to one of them. She kept…

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The Waiting

“I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.” (Isaiah 8:17) Waiting is not something I’m very good at. I admit I’m impatient and it’s hard for me to watch the slow pace of change over the years. Yet that all changed this year, everything changed didn’t it? Almost overnight we went from being these incredible social beings to isolated, stuck at home, and separated - not just by walls,…

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Waiting for Morning

Psalm 130 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2   Lord, hear my voice!Let your ears be attentive   to the voice of my supplications!  3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,   Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with you,   so that you may be revered.  5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,   and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord   more than those who watch for the morning,   more than those who watch for the morning.  7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!   For with the Lord there is steadfast love,   and with…

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